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employees at the pentagon will go on furlough starting one week from today. that and a whole lot more to get into this morning on the "full-court press," which we will do. take your calls at 866-55-press. first, we get the latest today's current news update from lisa ferguson joining us from los angeles. hi, lisa. good morning. >> hey, bill. good morning, everyone. president obama inand vice president biden are attending the democratic governor's association this morning andbam obama willing talking about a variety of national issues about economic and trade issues between the two countries. later, vice president biden will join the two for lunch. biden is also continuing his big push for gun legislation. yesterday from connecticut, he told the nation things have change the 234d gun violence debate. it used to be politicians would not want to vote for it. now, they won't want to vote against them. >> that's a big change from the norm. al large group of democrats are getting ready to make gun legislation a big part of their 2014 platform. steve israel s
on congress to take action to avoid those massive cuts to pentagon spending known as the sequester which kick in march 1st. if march can't pass a big bill, they ought to pass a small bill to delay the sequester for a few more months. house republicans led by john boehner immediately said no way. here we go again. the party of no opposing anything obama wants. we will tell you about that. also tell you the latest on drones and a lot more here on the full court press. but first, let's get the latest. lisa ferguson is here. well, she is not here. she is in los angeles with today's current news update. hi, lisa. good morning. >> close enough. los angeles, d.c. good morning, everyone. the president is in annapolis today after 10:00 this morning and atends the conference at the western annapolis hotel. vice president biden is swearing in john kerry as secretary at state from the state department and then later this evening, he is speaking at the house democratic issues conference in leesberg virginia. he will lay out a renewed plan for combatting climate change
. at this hour, we are hearing that several people have been hurt. we'll bring you to the pentagon for the latest on this story, just ahead. >>> also breaking news ahead. the former mayor of new york, ed koch has died. he was 88 years old. a look at his legacy this morning. a controversial, combative, confrontational and brash mayor, and the people of new york city loved him. we'll tell you about that, straight ahead. christine. >>> and the first jobs report of 2013 released in an hour and a half. the numbers for you, what it means for the health of the economy and the jobs market. >> and the defense secretary nominee on the defensive. chuck hagel grilled on capitol hill. did he blow his shot to convince lawmakers that he's the right man for the job? >> friday, february 1st, and "starting point" begins right now. >>> welcome, everybody. breaking news, we start with. two people have died, several people wounded in explosion that has taken place outside the u.s. embassy in ankara, turkey. chris lawrence joins us from the pentagon. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. not much information right now.
the nomination of a defense secretary. so we are in a war, and we have nobody running the pentagon. thank you, republicans. and meetteorites strike a town in russia's ural mountains. let's get the update from lisa ferguson standing buy out in los angeles. >> hey, bill good morning, everyone. president obama is on the road but first off he is hosting the italian president who is ending his term in. this will serve as a fairrewell. he will speak at hyde park academy about his state of the union address and his plans to strengthen the middle class. he is spending time until palm city, florida. the president is pushing his plan for universal pre-school this week. but that could run into road blocks thanks to republican lawmakers who say early learning programs are not effective. >> that's despite an increasing amount of evidence on the benefits of childhood education programs, including higher high school graduation rates and reduced teen pregnancy and crime. some research actually suggests every single dollar invested in pre-kinder garden programs saves $7 down th
in ankara, turkey. chris lawrence joins us from the pentagon. >> reporter: good morning, soledad. not much information right now. turkey authorities are responding to that scene, trying to collect more information. the blast happened just a short while ago, some. news reports out of that area, saw a big flash, heard a big bang. reports of several people wounded near a side gate of the embassy. we're waiting for more information, the u.s., of course, has two major air bases in turkey no, where near the capit capital. soledad. >> thank you, chris, for watching this story. >>> also, we told you just moments ago, the former new york city mayor ed koch has died. he passed away from congestive heart failure. he had really problems with his health over the last many years. mayor koch elected in 1977. he was a judge on the people's court, and he had been hospitalized recent well fluid on his lungs. moved to intensive care yesterday. he was 88 years old. richard socaridies joins us. writer for "new yorker," former aide to president clinton. when i was a kid growing up in long island, mayor koch was
he's more than ready to leave washington. let's go to pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she joins us live. he can't leave just yet, right, barbara? >> well, jim, he made it as far as his home in california. the question is, is he really still defense secretary? this should have been leon panetta's final appearance as secretary of defense. >> my office is packed up, sylvia is packing at home. i'm ready to go. >> a ceremony for former secretary of state, hillary clinton, who already made it out the door. >> it is probably a good thing at this point in time that we have a chance to get some damn rest. >> but as panetta was saying good-bye -- >> on this vote, the yes are 58 and the nays are 62. >> falling short of the votes needed to break a filibuster. keeping panetta, for now, from his retirement. but not from his immediate plans. panetta flew home to his california walnut farm as he does on many weekends. on tuesday, he comes back to washington and then on to brus brussels for a nato summit. on friday, he returns. but will he go back to work at the pentagon or go back home? >> leon
with us. nbc's chief correspondent. what are you hearing at the pentagon. >> officials knew this was coming although they didn't know the exact timing. this one has set off alarm bells, particularly because of the size of the blast. we're not relying on north korea claims here. south korea's seismic readings on the blast said it was somewhere about 6 or 7 kilotons, which could make it anywhere from 3 to 6 times more powerful than any previous weapon they set off before. north korea did claim they did this with a much smaller warhead, which would indicate they could be making progress miniaturizing a missile that could be launched at the united states. that's north korea and nobody is taking that seriously at this point and quite frankly, that's impossible to prove. within minutes, it seemed, after the blast was reported, the white house responded and president obama called it a highly provocative act that undermines regional stability and threatens ultimately u.s. national security. the president said it demands swift and credible action by the international community. that'
to start with a washington battle on full display this week when the president's pick to head the pentagon, former republican senator chuck hagel, came under fire from members of his own party during a very contentious confirmation hearing. >> name one person in your opinion who's intimidated by the israeli lobby in the united states senate. >> are we right or wrong? that's a pretty straightforward question. >> senator hagel, please answer the question i asked. today, do you think unilateral sanctions would be a bad idea? >> all this raising questions about how effective chuck hagel will be if confirmed as secretary of defense. earlier this weekend, i sat down for a rare joint interview with the top military leadership the outgoing secretary f defense leon panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey. >>> secretary panetta, welcome back to "meet the press." general dempsey, welcome. let me start with the man that is poised to take your place. he underwent on thursday a pretty tough round of questioning. he seemed to struggle with a lot of the answers. of cou
level that he had been waterboarded. he had practiced at the pentagon. he had been working on this. but when he referred to containment on iran rather than prevention of nuclear weapons and had to be corrected and then corrected again, a note was passed to him, and then the chairman helpfully said to him, containment is not a policy at all. that is not our policy. that is such a critical mistake on an issue that he knew that he was going to be asked about. we knew that he was going to have to explain the, quote, jewish lobby and take that back and some of the other things. the way he did it didn't seem crisp. and then when ted cruz wheeled in the tv screen to play an al jazeera talk show and put him on the spot or how he defended israel or didn't defend israel in response to a question on a talk show, it would be like somebody saying to you or mika, joe, you were on c-span ten years ago, and what did you say to someone who called in? that was very, very tough. >> that was sort of my point at the top. >> it's interesting that you had said, mika, yesterday as we were going to a meeti
? >> at the pentagon. >> this is the first time hearing of this. when did this happen? did they make this decision on the cruise ship? >> no. no, they didn't. it actually happened in washington. >> really? that's fascinating. >> which is its own permanent port-a-potty. >> okay. mika, for those of us that were just sitting there looking at a cruise ship for 24 hours instead of following the real news, why don't you catch us up with what actually happened yesterday in the news. >> republicans blocked a vote yesterday that would have ended the debate and allowed for a final decision one way or another. democrats fell just shy of the votes needed to advance the process. something president obama chalked up to partisan politics. >> there's nothing in the constitution that says that somebody should get 60 votes. there are only a handful of instances in which there's been any kind of filibuster of anybody for a cabinet position in our history. and what seems to be happening -- and this has been growing over time -- is the republican minority in the senate seem to think that the rule now is that you have
and significant others of service members. the perks which were previously denied by the pentagon include child care services, as well as access to on-base commissaries and movie theaters. the policy changes go into effect once training is completed. >> jobs do you know about what's on your credit report? as many as 40 million americans have errors on their credit reports, things like misspelled names, wrong addresses and birth dates. and even in some cases, wrong payment history. those mistakes can keep you from getting a loan, qualifying for lower interest rates and even cost you your job. if you find an error on your credit report, you should immediately contact the credit agencies. >>> this morning, intrigue is building around the world about who will be the next pope. next month more than 100 cardinals will meet at the vatican to begin the closed door ritual called the conclave. 11 cardinals, including donned worrell are eligible to vote. pope benedict will not vote for his successor. he will step down february 28th. he will eventually move into a monastery in the vatican dedicating his ti
was also inducted into the hall of heroes at the pentagon and honored with a parade. since then meyer has raised more than a million dollars to help send the children of wounded marines to college. and finally, as you have all seen, he is the author of "into the fire: a firsthand account of the most extraordinary battle in the afghan war." leading authorities is very proud to exclusively represent dakota meyer, and now i want to show you a video to hear more about dakota and his story. thank you. ♪ >> it's kind of frustrating because, you know, everyone wants to get an interview about the worst day of your life. >> it was a straightforward mission that then-21-year-old sergeant dakota meyer had been assigned that day. meyer waited anxiously by the vehicles as his team began their parol of the village on foot. as they approached, all hell l broke loose. more than 50 insurgents fired from positions on mountains surrounding the valley and from within the village. back at the vehicles, meyer heard the firing and could see into the valley. the volume of fire increased, and the radio traffic
remarkable. >> bill: to go along without a secretary of defense. >> i think pressure from the pentagon, military leaders the public not having a guy in charge of the pentagon. it's not going to be sustainable for them. >> bill: the center for american progress has a lot of ties to the white house. so you're going to be live blogging tonight. what does that mean? >> he's going to say something and we're going to provide the context. he's going to say we've reduced spending. we're going to have the numbers that debt has fallen by $4.5 trillion by 2010. not only the speech. we'll be doing the rebuttal. marco rubio's rebuttal. the english part of it we'll push back upon. check out think progress this morning. we're going to have a video put together. you know, you heard a lot during the republican national convention of i'm a child of immigrants. my grandmother came to this country. my great-grandparents. we're going to have a compilation. rubio is going to talk about immigration. of all of these republicans during the election touting their immigrant roots. touting those connections. are
the beast? everybody -- leon panetta said this will be devastating to the pentagon. >> what you're hearing mostly from democrats is that we cannot let this happen. the cuts are terrible. this will hurt not only the first responders that you mentioned but food inspectors, fbi agents and -- >> bill: air-traffic controllers. >> everything that americans depend on. but you're getting this growing course from republicans saying we do need to cut government spending. this isn't the ideal way to do it but this -- it gets the job done if that's what it takes and that's what it takes. >> bill: they're willing -- so in terms of the military, "new york times" reported some 240,000 members of the army, maybe national guard -- would get furloughs. there are ships that are not being deployed these days. there are all kinds of -- cuts to the pentagon, would be very severe. republicans who claim of being like pro military, pro defense. we support the armed forces. they're going to let this happen to the pentagon? >> i think a lot of the very defense hawks are saying no, we cannot let this happen to the pe
chuck hagel, is makes his first remarks to the pentagon employees. >> the great nation and the tremendous force for food that america is. i want toking a knowledge much -- i want to acknowledge much of our leadership here today, specifically, we have the deputy secretary of defense ash carter who was here chairman, joint chiefs, we have the staff of the army. makes me shake a little. sergeant -- [laughter] >> these are live pictures. chuck hagel speaking live at the pentagon. first remarks to the employees there. now we also want to show you some new video of hagel arriving at the pentagon this morning. hagel was confirmed by the senate just yesterday after a bitter seven-week fight on capitol hill. just four republicans joined republicans in backing the -- the democrats in backing the confirmation. president obama calls hagel the defense secretary the nation needs and the leader our troops deserve. >>> what's moving. markets higher this morning? new disturbing information on the alleged gunman in the santa cruz shooting. >>> first it was the island of lanai and now lar
with a balanced approach to new revenue and necessary pentagon cuts and it creates jobs all over the country. it equalizes the cuts we've already made with revenue by closing tax loopholes for america's wealthiest individuals and corporations. but we shouldn't just sacrifice our economic recovery because republicans are unwilling to vote for one single penny and new revenue, new contributions from their billionaire friends and corporations. we have to look at what these cuts mean in the sequester. the sequester involves 70,000 children being kicked off of head start. no one in this chamber disagrees about the importance of head start. early childhood education is absolutely essential in creating the foundation for learning in children all over the world. and that's what head start is about. 70,000 american children being kicked off head start. that's what happens when you use a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel. we're talking about more than a million kids who will see their schools lose education funding. we're talking about emergency responders who will lose their jobs, meaning slower resp
your perspective on the pentagon's role in securing our embassies? we just had a near suicide attack, if you will, suicide bomber, at an embassy in turkey just last week. what can be done more than what has been done now? >> the important things to do are first of all you've got to build up the host country capacity. in the end, these embassies do depend on host country, the details that provide security. so you've got to try to develop that. >> this shouldn't be more marines? >> no, no. let me get the rest of the part of it. you have to harden these embassies as much as possible. and third, we have been working with the ste department to determine whether additional marines ought to be assigned to that area. and in the end, the final alternative is our ability to respond in having our troops in a position where they can respond quickly. but i have to tell you, a lot of that still is dependent on whether intelligence tells us that we've got a big problem, and gives us enough warning so that we can get to the place to respond. >> did you have enough time to get there in time? >> no. >
federal government except the pentagon. all of a sudden the last couple of months hitting this arbitrary political target is vital. what is vital, as i said, is having a deficit strategy that's consistent with sound economic growth and making sure that we strengthen the middle class and that means as a first step to make sure that our deficits, as the economy improves, as we grow, that our deficits are not growing faster than g.d.p. and that we stabilize the debt as a percentage of g.d.p. because if you don't, as the economy improves, higher government borrowing -- we need to adopt that strategy and adopt it now. have it kicked in over a period of time. we just got very good news that the rate of per capita increase in health care costs is actually at the lowest level of 50 years. we need to continue to adopt strategies to keep that -- those costs increase low. as as demographic changes means baby boomers retire and we clearly need to keep working on those issues. but let me just sum up where we are in terms of our deficit reduction targets. over the last little over two years we have no
structures inside the pentagon? >> well, the first impression was not positive, because of the -- as a result of the hearings, chris, no doubt about that and it is imperative for the new defense secretary. he will be confirmed. his first public outing or two it will be important to project the command, gravitas, thoroughly briefed, in charge of the facts, to dispel the original im protection creapres after that, it will be to surround himself with a strong management team. it is a big management responsibility, at the pentagon and they'll go through changes and fiscal challenges, without the sequester, and, so ultimately the proof in the pudding will be in how he performs as defense secretary and if he comes out of the blocks as a veteran professional, it is not a big deal and he can put it behind him. >> chris: bill one way the white house is trying to clear the path for two nominees, hagel at defense and brennan at cia, is that they have kind of grudgingly been dragged out, have agreed to release some of the e-mails that chart how the talking points were developed after the benghazi terror
, a member of the bush pentagon's defense policy board, michael hastings author of the new digital book "panic 2012, the sublime and terrifying inside story of obama's final campaign ♪ ♪ barbara siegel, also washington correspondent for the middle east website al monitor.com. great to have you all here. >> thank you. >> so i am -- well, where to start? i think the lessons unlearned to me was the most troubling. it seemed to me we had a moment in 2008 particularly in which president obama articulated this kind of alternative foreign policy vision and did so quite forthrightly. for instance, negotiations with iran and ahmadinejad. and somehow four years later, we've moved backwards, right? the old -- i guess as we've gotten further away from the debacle of iraq, as that's more remote in people's memory, there's more and more the sense of iraq ended up okay and you saw this -- i thought it was so interesting, it was the relitigation of the surge. because that in some ways is this key narrative plot point that somehow redeem tess entire war. and so you saw, for instance, john mccain, in
: i'mture chuck hagel would like one of those pentagon-brewed beers. let's talk about hagel. he is calling for cuts to the defense budget. republicans have just skewed him with it. and how will he do with that? >> there is some concern in how chuck hagel will work with those on capitol hill. you have heard the chairman of the house armed services committee say he doesn't want chuck hagel to be confirmed. he think president obama needs to put up someone new. but it is likely he will be confirmed in a very hostile, tense environment where he is working in the constraints of the military. >> michael: and you can see it happening. juana summers defense reporter for "politico." thanks for being in "the war room." >> thank you. >> michael: up next, when last we left the meddling koch brothers their scheme to overtake democracy has been foiled. but they were bound to pop up again in the next season. stick around. you would rather deal with ahmadinejad than me. >>absolutely. >> and so would mitt romney. (vo) she's joy behar. >>and the best part is that current will let
pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is taking a closer look. he's investigating in his special report, in our next hour, chris lawrence at the pentagon. >>> president obama's state of the union address. just a little more than 24 hours away. will it help repair the growing divide in washington? or will it make things even worse? >>> plus, three days after a monster blizzard peraralyzed pas of the northeast, some people are still trapped in their homes. hi. hi. i'm here to pick up some cacti. it should be under stephens. the verizon share everything plan for small business. get a shareable pool of data... got enough joshua trees? ... on up to 25 devices. so you can spend less time... yea, the golden barrels... managing wireless costs and technology and more time driving your business potential. looks like we're going to need to order more agaves... ah! oh! ow! ... and more bandages. that's powerful. shareable data plus unlimited talk and text. now save $50 on a droid razr maxx hd by motorola. for over 75 years people ...with geico... ohhh...sorry!. director's voice: here we go. from th
about their capabilities and potentially u.s. vulnerabilities. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's investigating what is going on. what are you finding out, barbara? >> so far, wolf, u.s. officials aren't saying much about this. so the question is, is it iran showing the capabilities of one of the u.s.'s most secret spy airplanes? iran claims this is classified video from a u.s. spy drone. >> this aircraft has had many flights in countries around iran. in operations that have taken place in pakistan, this aircraft has provided guidance. >> u.s. officials are trying to figure out what exactly iran has in hand. in washington thursday, defense secretary leon panetta wasn't talking. >> did iran hack our drone, mr. secretary? >> most alarming will be if iran's claim is true that it dekripted a video from one of america's most secret aircraft. >> looking at the video, it certainly seems to be genuine but i think it's a give away that you can see that the video in places is masked by what looked like frames in a glass cover. >> since it captured in the drone in 2011,
. as is widely recognized, sequestration over the next 10 years apply to the pentagon budget would only reduce it in inflation adjusted terms to what it was in 2007 a. the most powerful military in the world -- 2007, as the most powerful military in the world engaged in a war in iraq and the challenge in afghanistan. if members of congress pay attention to the facts, they will see a clear path to dramatically reduce pentagon spending without undermining america's position as being the most powerful nation on the planet. and nobody has done a better job of highlighting a path forward, an area of opportunity, than walter pinkus writhing on the pages of the "washington post" over the last couple years as he details the sweep of our nuclear weapons program and the spending trajectory. this morning's latest offering should be required reading for every member of congress and the ones who whine the loutest should be forced to read it -- loudest should be forced to read it twice. he details a vast array of nuclear weapons already deployed, ready to be deployed within 30 minutes, a relic of our conten
when he talks. apparently brennan wants to put them under pentagon control. who knows if that is true but there are three things i was shocked the democrats didn't bring up. and it's three questions that every president obama ditto head has to respond to. i don't like criticizing this but let's be honestly about a couple of things. number 1, the word imminent how that no longer means imminent and it means we think you might do something 20s years from now and that makes you an imminent threat and we have to kill you with with no trial. no. 2 is militant. any male over the age of 16 whose near where one of these bombs goes off is counted as a militant whether they were or not. toe try to talk al-qaeda guys. >> that's how they keep the civilian death tolls low. it's a dirt dirty business. number 3, blowback, what no democrat asked about is every time we kill an america hater with one of these things we are creating untold numbers of new. so it's person pet y'all war. >> i would add a high informed -- highly placed. we don't know who that i
in one of his farewell acts again as defense secretary yesterday announced a new medal for the pentagon. and this is a medal for people who are piloting drones. it is a new combat medal for those who are not actually engaged in combat. i should have done this before you came in. it is called the most -- no, the distinguished warfare medal. which will provide recognition for those who have a direct impact on combat operations but are not involved in combat. so the people sit down like at c.i.a. headquarters or in the pentagon with the joystick, killing targets overseas, qualify for a medal of honor. >> really surreal world. >> bill: it is isn't it? >> the air force has these bases in colorado are like a field of trailers or container -- boxes. and these guys, they have normal lives with wives and kids at home and they drive in the office and get in one of the bunkers, sit behind a computer and spy on them and sometimes kill people in the tribal areas of pakistan or afghanistan. it is a really bizarre situation. >> bill: then go home and barbecue chicken for the kids. >> there is a situat
at the pentagon and military readiness and what that will mean. >> he is at the pentagon now moments away from being sworn in. it could be kathleen seb i will sibilius. chuck hagel has my money. i will be there. if it's not chuck hagel, i will walk out. >> in protest? >> yeah. we wanted hagel. what's going on? >> quick story, public policy poling who we know ppp polled. they did a very, very important study, bill. they polled democrats and republicans to find out who their favorite fried chicken restaurant was. and they put it up against kfc. >> yeah. >> and chick-fil-a. >> popeye's. >> they just put it betweenthies two. i am with you. i say popeye's. popeye's keeps it real but kfc and democrats. democrats perform kfc while 48% of republicans chose chick-fil-a. >> of course. they are homophobic anti-marriage equality. >> exactly. what i found even more interesting out of this pole pole se /* /* poll, 43% of republicans say the nasty it al y'all food restaurant is quote a quality source of authenticethnic food. 43% of republicans say olive guardn is a quali
hagel will show up for his first day of work in the pentagon. he was confirmed last night by a 58-41 vote. and the president's choice for treasury secretary could be confirmed today, jack lew. he sailed through the senate finance committee yesterday. >>> stunning decision from natureo. a really bad clerical error. a 7% decline in violence in afghanistan last year, turns out was inaccurate. taliban attacks held steady. and militants killed 17 people overnight, including ten afghan police officers while they slept this in the gazni province in afghanistan. >>> dennis rodman is in north korea, of all places. with three members of the famed harlem globetrotters to put on a show for fans while she film a tv documentary. rodman, known as the worm, tweeting from inside north korea and saying maybe i'll run into the gangnam style dude while i'm here. psy, he is south korean, not north korean. >> a little bit of a problem. >> a big difference. >> i haven't heard the nickname the worm since about 1999. >> rodman, bad as i want to be. >> yet there he is tweeting from north korea. >>> still a
at the pentagon in alexandria, virginia. hagel expected to make remarks later this hour. >>> police released photos wanted for questioning, they say 22-year-old tanesha howard was inside a black suv when shots were fired. her mother says the suspected shooter is the young woman's boyfriend. >>> the star of an iconic anti-smoking ad has died. >> they say nicotine isn't addictive. how can they say that? >> debi austin became famous to are this commercial warning others about the dangers of cigarette smoking. she died friday after a long bat well cancer. >>> the college admissions test known as the s.a.t. is getting a makeover. the college board says the new test will focus more on knowledge and skills high schoolers need to succeed in college. no word on when students will begin taking the new test. >>> talk back today, is it right for dennis rodman to be in north korea? facebook.com/carolcnn or tweet me @carolcnn. i've always had to keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get informat
kill tv, jay johnson, a pentagon stop lawyer admitted, quote, if i were catholic i'd have to go to confession, unquote. mr. petraeus' departure presents mr. obama with an opportunity to halt the c.i.a.'s drift toward becoming a paramilitary organization and put it back on course. for all the technological advances america's made in the decade of fighting al qaeda, it still needs all the old tricks it learned in the day before spy satellites and droughns drones. more and better human intelligence in sources on the ground will result in more accurate targeting. that would be a yemen model that actually worked and a lasting and more effective counterterrorism legacy for mr. obama's second term. gregory johnson from "the new york times." another good article by patrick pool on june 6 of 2012. obama's assassination czar, a relatively unnoticed article, this is from the article, quoting, by associated press reporter kimberly dozer two weeks ago outlining new obama administration policy changes which consolidated power for authorizing drone attacks and assassinations under political ap
the pentagon, his answer was simple -- no. but i kept asking him. i am persistent. that is how michelle married me. i just kept at it, and it is a testament to his patriotism, to his sense of duty that leon agreed to serve on this one last tour. perhaps it was the memory of his parents opening their homes up to g.i.'s headed to the pacific. perhaps it was leon, who served himself, a young lieutenant in the army. perhaps it was the experience of watching his youngest son deployed to afghanistan. what we do know is this -- as our nation's's 23rd secretary of defense, in every action leon panetta has taken, every decision he has made has been with one goal in mind -- taking care of our sons and our daughters in uniform and keeping america safe. just think of the progress under his watch. because we ended the war in iraq, winding down the war in afghanistan, our troops are coming home, and next year our war in afghanistan will come to an end. we have put the core of al qaeda on the path to defeat. we have been relentless against its affiliates. because we have a sacred obligation to our troops to t
the pentagon press corps for an award called the distinguished medal. he also addressed north korea's's nuclear program and the troops withdraw and afghanistan and sequestration. >> as you know, this is i believe my final press conference here at the pentagon briefing room. there are moments when i thought it was the last act of an italian opera. i'm not sure exactly when it would end and the fat lady would sing. but i think that the congress will act and they will confirm chuck hagel this week. so what i wanted to do is to use this opportunity to first of all thank you all, all of you that are part of the press corps here and the press in general. throughout my 50 years in public service, i have always believed very deeply in the role of the press. because i believe deeply in the role of the american people in our democracy, the information is the key to an informed electorate. while we may or may not agree with every story in the grand scheme of things, because of the work of the press i believe the truth always comes out. and in the end, we cannot really serve the american people well unless
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